LivingTravelLyon, France Travel Guide

Lyon, France Travel Guide

Lyon is the capital of the Rhône department, and also the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France. Lyon is convenient for most of Central Europe. As a business center, Lyon’s extensive transportation options can get you to other tourist destinations quickly and easily.

There are direct Eurostar trains from London to Lyon .

How big is Lyon?

Lyon’s urban sprawl makes it the second largest metropolitan area in France after Paris, with more than 1.6 million people. Despite its size, the historic center of Lyon is compact and memorable. You won’t feel like you’re in a big city if you find a hotel near any of the Lyon train stations.

Arriving in Lyon

Access to Lyon by train: there are two Lyon stations in the city center: Part-Dieu and Perrache. There is a third at Lyon Saint Exupery airport. TGV trains leave Part-Deiu station every half hour for the two-hour trip to Paris. Lyon is 5 hours from London via Eurostar.

Lyon Saint Exupéry Airport is located 25 km from the city center and has excellent rail connections with the French high-speed rail network. There is also a shuttle bus connection to Lyon from the airport, called Aeroport Navette, which also stops at the train stations.

See also: Interactive railway map of France

Lyon city card

The Lyon City Card gives you free access to all Lyon bus, metro, tram and funicular lines, free and discounted tickets to many museums and shows, and some discounts on purchases. The Lyon Card is available in durations of 1, 2 or 3 days, and in versions for adults and juniors. Read more on the Lyon city card.

For the active traveler, the Lyon card can save you quite a few euros.

The layout of the city

Lyon grew up between the Rhone and Saone rivers. To the west of old Lyon (vieux Lyon) is the Fourvière, dominated by the Notre-Dame de Fourvière basilica, which you must visit. The Roman remains along with the archaeological museum of Lyon are also here. Fourvière is reached by the funicular, which starts at the base of the hill where the Vieux Lyon runs. There is a charge for the funicular, which is covered by the Lyon card.

Today, Lyon is divided into nine districts. Most of your visit will be limited to the 1st, 2nd and 5th districts.

Lyon and the silk road

In the 18th century, Lyon was famous throughout Europe for its silk production and traded extensively with Italy, and the Italian influence on Lyon’s architecture is evident. You can tour the district of the silk weavers in Lyon on the slopes of the Croix Rousse district.

What to eat

Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France and has the highest concentration of restaurants in France. You won’t have a problem getting a good meal in Lyon. Lyon is awash with traditional and inexpensive restaurants called “bouchons”. Local specialties include ‘Cervelle de Canuts’, a soft herbaceous silk cloth ‘cheese’, tablier de sapeur tripe and Lyonnais salad.

Lyon is a great place to learn how to cook with local ingredients. Plum Teaching Kitchen Lyon offers one-day classes, perfect for getting a taste of what it’s like to cook with traditional Lyonnaise ingredients.

Main attractions

Lyon has quite a few interesting museums to visit. Considering its history, I really enjoyed the archaeological museum and the lesser known Museum of Miniatures; It is not something you see every day.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon is considered one of the best in France. Housed in a former abbey, the 7000 square meters offer a broad view of art from ancient Greece and Egypt to the present. The antique collection is excellent.

Given Lyon’s previous link to textiles, a visit to the Textile Museum, housed in the 17th-century Villeroy Mansion, might be in order.

The Lumiere brothers made the first film in Lyon, so a visit to the Lumeire Institute could be a meaningful pilgrimage for movie fans.

Lyon served as the capital of Gaul from its founding in 43 BC. Until the early Christian era, and the Gallo-Roman Museum at Lyon-Fourvière follows the story by spiraling down the hill on which the museum stands. Right outside is what remains of Roman Lyon, the Roman theater and the odeum.

And the best of Lyon? For me, I could be sitting in a riverside cafe at night and ordering a glass of wine as the sun slides below the horizon and monuments begin to light up.

Just south of Lyon is the northern Cotes du Rhone, where you will find some of the best wines in southern France.

The best restaurants in Lyon

Find out where to eat well in Lyon, which rightly claims to be the gastronomic heart of France, a claim that Parisians disagree with.

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